Vartan Gregorian

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Vartan Gregorian : biography

April 8, 1934 –

Vartan Gregorian ( , born April 8, 1934) is an Armenian-American academic, serving as the president of Carnegie Corporation of New York.Raimondo, Justin (2013-06-28) , He is an ethnic Armenian who was born in Persia, which is now known as Iran.

He came to the United States in 1956 as a freshman, attending Stanford University, where he completed his B.A., with honors, in two years. After receiving his dual PhD in history and humanities from Stanford University in 1964, Gregorian served on the faculties at several American universities before joining the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania in 1972 as Tarzian Professor of Armenian and Caucasian History and Professor of South Asian history. In 1974, he was appointed UPenn’s founding dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and became Provost in 1978. From 1981 to 1989, Gregorian served as president of the New York Public Library, an eight-year tenure which would prove one of his most lasting legacies.

In 1988, he was chosen to become president of Brown University, where he served for the next nine years. In 1997, he was selected as president of philanthropic Carnegie Corporation of New York. He is also a trustee of the Museum of Modern Art, the American Academy in Berlin, the Institute for Advanced Study, and Brandeis University, among other institutions.

He has received the National Humanities Medal. In 2004, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States. Gregorian is on the advisory board of USC Center on Public Diplomacy, the Brookings Doha Center and is a member of the editorial board of the Encyclopædia Britannica.. Encyclopædia Britannica (retrieved June 26, 2006). President Barack Obama appointed him to serve on the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships.

A Phi Beta Kappa and a Ford Foundation Foreign Area Training Fellow, he is a recipient of numerous fellowships, including those from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Social Science Research Council and the American Philosophical Society. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts of Sciences.

He has also received honorary degrees from nearly seventy institutions. He documented much of his private life in his 2003 autobiography The Road to Home: My Life and Times.

Early life

Gregorian was born in Tabriz, Persia (modern day Iran), to Samuel B. Gregorian and Shushanik G. Mirzaian. His family belonged to the minority Armenian Christian population. When Vartan Gregorian was six years old his mother, then twenty-six, died of pneumonia. His father, who worked for the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in Abadan, was away from home much of the time, and hence Gregorian and his younger sister Ojik were raised by Voski Mirzaian, his maternal grandmother.. Armenian News Network / Groong (retrieved June 10, 2006).

Elementary and secondary education

Gregorian attended elementary school in Iran. In his autobiography, in discussing the events that led to his secondary education, Gregorian refers to several "strangers" who allowed this transition in his life to take place (and eventually move him to the United States). First, in 1948, Edgar Maloyan, the Gaullist French vice-consul in Tabriz at the time, suggested to Gregorian that he ought to go to Beirut, Lebanon to continue his education and provided him with three letters of introduction:. National Endowment for the Humanities (retrieved June 22, 2006). one to the head of the Lebanese Internal Security Agency, one to the Collège Arménien, and one to a hotel where he could stay.French, Yvonne. . Library of Congress (retrieved June 22, 2006). Gregorian also did chores for another individual in Tabriz, an optometrist named Hrayr Stepanian, who eventually helped Gregorian obtain his passport to get to Lebanon:

The head of the Armenian Relief Society of Lebanon arranged to provide Gregorian with meals for a monthly cost of US$6.15 as well as lodging. He learned French and completed his secondary education at the Collège Arménien in Beirut. Simon Vratzian, former prime minister of the pre-Soviet Democratic Republic of Armenia and then director of the college, provided Gregorian with the advice and assistance that helped him make arrangements to attend a university in the United States. In 1956, Gregorian applied to only two universities—the University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University—and was admitted by each. Stanford’s acceptance arrived by airmail months before Berkeley’s did by surface mail, at which point Gregorian had already enrolled at Stanford.. Stanford Magazine (retrieved June 22, 2006).